Still No Hard Evidence Linking Russia To WikiLeaks

The Obama Administration is using Perry Mason’s courtroom adversary to prosecute its case against WikiLeaks.

Just as it happens in the old Perry Mason TV show, the prosecutor is basing his case on circumstantial evidence, not on hard evidence.

That is the gist of the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections.

Three statements in the assessment are particularly interesting.

Page i of the Scope and Sourcing section says, “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.” In other words, the U.S. intelligence community can’t say that Russia definitely influenced American voters.

Page iii of the Key Judgments section says, “DHS assesses that the types of systems Russian actors targeted or compromised were not involved in vote tallying.” In other words, Russia didn’t tamper with actual voting.

Page 3 of the assessment says, “Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.” In other words, the information released by Wikileaks is true.

The Hill quotes WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as saying, “Did [WikiLeaks] change the outcome of the election? Who knows, it’s impossible to tell. But if it did, the accusation is that the true statements of Hillary Clinton and her campaign manager, John Podesta, and the DNC head Debbie Wasserman Schultz, their true statements is what changed the election.” In other words, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign was allegedly sunk by true statements made by Democrats.

Now, did Vladimir Putin make those Democrats say what they said?

Still, the U.S. intelligence community is certain that Russia gave information to WikiLeaks, just as in 2003 the U.S. intelligence community was certain that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.

A reporter said what???!!!
Wizbang Weekend Caption Contest™
  • Paul Hooson

    Not correct here. U.’S. intelligence agents have traced the specific Russian keyboards with the Russian lettering used by specific Russian agents who then used their computers to send hacked information to Wikileaks. Here’s Just one of many news stories on this reported by the foreign media’s BBC, which has no connection to American politics and is an independent analysis of known facts. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38528329

    • Scalia

      The minute Trump seems opposed to Vladimir Putin’s world views, Putin could attempt to undermine his presidency, because attempting to destabilize the United States is a prime military and foreign policy objective of Putin.

      And it appears that this so-called attempt will amount to publicizing statements made by Trump. It appears you’re alleging, like we’ve been saying, that the commies let everybody know what lying hypocrites key Democrats are, and that, in turn, undermines our elections. So, if the commies let America know that Trump tortured puppies last year, you’d be foaming at the mouth over their interference with our elections, right?

      • Paul Hooson

        My concern is a nation much weaker than the U.S. attempting to weaken our world standing to elevate their world standing. It doesn’t matter who was victimized by these Russian efforts here, because these attempts to harm our nation will only continue. A friendly nation does not use computer warfare like this to tear down another nation. If Russia wants to be a normal member state of the world community, this sort of cyberwarfare is unacceptable.

        • Scalia

          Showing the world that Democrats are lying hypocrites does not destroy our country.

          • jim_m

            It does if you are a lefty that wants the US to be weak but does not want that weakness to be reported to US citizens. That is the real crux if the left wing arguments and what irritates Paul

          • Brett Buck

            Quite the opposite, in fact.

          • Paul Hooson

            Go to Wikileaks and look at all of the classified information that they have published related to foreign policy and other matters, much if not most supplied by Russian hackers to undermine our foreign policy and other rival states of Russia. Italy, Greece, Germany, Turkey, China and other states have been victims. U.S. intelligence services have been damaged. Mideast relations with Saudi Arabia damaged. U.S. military policy in Iraq and Afghanistan compromised to the benefit of ISIS and al Qaeda. The leak of some Emails that Democratic Party officials did not want Socialist Bernie Sanders to wrest their nomination is only a smaller issue there. Although Wikileaks and Russia did not hack internal Republican Party memos, it was pretty open knowledge that the party did not want Donald Trump to capture the nomination and only slowly came around to support him.

            Wikileaks has probably cost some number of murders or deaths to some of our intelligence community, combat deaths to American servicepersons in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as international deaths of civilians to ISIS and al Qaeda terrorism. There’s nothing good about Wikileaks or the Russian espionage that funnels a river of classified information their way.

            I won’t link to Wikileaks because I hate what they are doing, but use your Google search to see all of the nations and American government compromises they are responsible for. Wikileaks is being used by Russia to undermine most of the leading democratic nations in the world.

          • Scalia

            You’ve got to be kidding. If you think for two seconds that I’m gonna Google for evidence of a Russian connection with Wikileaks, you’re dumber than I thought you were.

            If you have proof that Russia supplied Wikileaks with what they hacked from the DNC, then produce it HERE. If you can’t, then I think you need to shut up about it.

          • jim_m

            Um, the only classified info that anyone has claimed to be published by Wikileaks has been from Snowden. So once again we see that Wikileaks gets their info, not from the Russians but from US sources. Seems like the dems, and demo run organizations have a problem with data security and with insiders feeling that they are so incredibly corrupt that they simply must be exposed at any cost.

          • pennywit

            Destroy? No. But if the United States does not unequivocally condemn another country’s attempt to manipulate a US election, it makes it seem the United States is divided against itself.

          • Scalia

            I replied to Paul who used the word destroy in reference to Wikileaks:

            Wikileaks has published so much stolen classified materials with the intent of destroying this country while the founder of this site is a fugitive from justice on sex offender charges that include rape from Sweden.

            As to “another country’s attempt to manipulate a US election,” Russia has been spying on us for a long time, and you know that we’ve been spying on them too. What are we going to do, condemn them for spying on us when we’re spying on them? Besides, if their hacking efforts were successful, they hacked into the DNC. It’s not like they got into the Pentagon (although they’ve probably done that too). The Dems need to be better at the cyber stuff and upgrade their security. It’s been reported that attempts were made to breach the GOP servers, but I guess Republicans are better with computers.

            If we’re going to “unequivocally condemn” Russia for manipulating our elections, shouldn’t we have something to condemn? We’re still waiting for evidence that the data Wikileaks provided came from Russia. Once we have that, then we can condemn, holler, kick out more diplomats, etc., all we want. It seems some folks are up in arms before having the prerequisite information. Why’s that? When it looked like Hillary would win, Obama just told Putin to “knock it off.” When Trump wins, the Dems go apoplectic.

            The bottom line: If publicizing true statements by key Democrats sunk their chances last November, that’s on the Dems. They got caught being the lying hypocrites we knew they were. I’d be more upset if they (whoever) publicized false information to sway voters. And why aren’t folks like you screaming for proof of a Russian-Wikileaks connection? Let’s not get into another Cold War over fake news.

          • pennywit

            And why aren’t folks like you screaming for proof of a Russian-Wikileaks connection

            I think it’s pretty likely. Not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, but pretty likely. But you and I aren’t going to convince each other on this point. It’s more futile than a mediocre NFC North team trying to take on the Seattle Seahawks.

            And I’ve never been entirely comfortable with Wikileaks, even when they were going after Republicans. The group always seemed more anarchic than idealistic to me.

            As to “another country’s attempt to manipulate a US election,” Russia has been spying on us for a long time, and you know that we’ve been spying on them too. What are we going to do, condemn them for spying on us when we’re spying on them? Besides, if their hacking efforts were successful, they hacked into the DNC. It’s not like they got into the Pentagon (although they’ve probably done that too).

            Aside from the fact that Jon Podesta took the President Skroob approach to IT security, I think you respond to the obvious, even if Putin’s not going to admit it. I read about some of the presumed hacking process over at Techdirt, and it’s pretty obvious that a) Russia was hacking (spearphishing, actually) and b) Russia was trying to influence the American election. I think that in situations like this, it’s important to have horns facing out. Let Russia, and anyone else know, that America, collectively, isn’t going to stand for people meddling in our domestic politics, regardless of whether it’s useful to one party or another.

            If we’re going to “unequivocally condemn” Russia for manipulating our elections, shouldn’t we have something to condemn? We’re still waiting for evidence that the data Wikileaks provided came from Russia. Once we have that, then we can condemn, holler, kick out more diplomats, etc., all we want. It seems some folks are up in arms before having the prerequisite information. Why’s that?

            What level of evidence would you want?

          • Scalia

            I think it’s pretty likely. Not proved beyond a reasonable doubt, but pretty likely. But you and I aren’t going to convince each other on this point.

            Likely? Didn’t you read David’s link to the actual report? He quoted the relevant snippet:

            We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion.

            How can we make that connection when the intelligence community hasn’t?

            What level of evidence would you want?

            Like I said, David already addressed that.

          • Scalia

            What level of evidence would you want?

            I’d like to know what the evidence of any kind is. You know that the proximity of events does not necessarily demand a causal relationship. As I stated above, that’s the post hoc fallacy. Do you have a memo or a credible witness connecting the alleged hacking with Assange? All I’m hearing are assertions, and assertions are not arguments.

          • pennywit

            First off, Scalia, if I, personally had that memo or credible witness, I would probably be in the intelligence community and couldn’t share it with you unless you were cleared, or you were a reporter for a prominent national newspaper. That said, the intel folks say they have identified the link between Wikileaks and Russia. For whatever reason, though, they aren’t revealing the person.

            The problem, right now, is that there are three sources that could explicitly confirm or deny that Wikileaks got the DNC emails from Russia. Those sources are the US intelligence community, the Russian intelligence community, and Julian Assange. So far, the US intelligence community is saying, “There is a link. Trust us.” The Russian government is saying, “There’s nothing. We never hacked the US government or the Democratic National Committee. And even if you have evidence, we didn’t do it.” And Julian Assange isn’t talking. In a Reddit AMA yesterday, he dodged/refused to answer questions about it.

            (BTW: The evidence for HOW the Russians got the emails can be found within the Wikileaks documents themselves, apparently).

            Now, out of all of this, I can’t say, conclusively, that Wikileaks got its docs from Russia. And you can’t say, conclusively, that Wikileaks did not. I don’t think we’ll be able to conclusively prove or disprove that link unless one of the principals coughs up accurate information.

            (Side note: Has anybody convinced the DNC and/or Wikileaks to cough up some original files for a hash-value comparison? That might tell us something.)

            So we’re more or less left with assessing whether it is more likely or less likely that Wikileaks got its docs from the Kremlin. I think it’s more likely, given Russia’s agenda, and the fact that the emails appear to be some of the same emails that the Russians got from Podesta and elsewhere.

            You find the evidence less than convincing. Which is fine. I’m just curious about what level of evidence you want — clear and convincing, preponderance of the evidence, etc., etc.

            On a broader note .. yes, I am aware that nations attempt to meddle in each others’ internal politics all the time. The problem is that when such manipulation becomes gauche and public, the target nation needs to respond, and do so with its political factions united against foreign interference. To do otherwise is to imply that one is weak and vulnerable to further manipulations.

          • Scalia

            Your link says,

            Meanwhile, US intelligence has received new information following the election that gave agencies increased confidence that Russia carried out the hack and did so, in part, to help Trump win.

            Included in that new information were intercepted conversations of Russian officials expressing happiness at Trump’s win. Another official described some of the messages as congratulatory.

            Officials said this was just one of multiple indicators to give them high confidence of both Russian involvement and Russian intentions. Officials reiterated that there is no single intercepted communication that qualifies as a “smoking gun” on Russia’s intention to benefit Trump’s candidacy or to claim credit for doing so.

            So, our intelligence agencies have “increased confidence” that Russia carried out the hack because the Russians were happy that Trump won??

            The same link says that Assange denied Russian involvement, so why would he continue to answer questions about it? How many times do you have to say that you didn’t beat your wife?

            Your link also says that the declassified version would be made available to the public. Well, we now have it. Where’s the beef?

            You’re right—so far, I am less than convinced. I’ll need to see more before we rev up the Cold War motor.

            All that aside, we’re still talking about true statements the Democrats made. Have the Democrats denied the accuracy of the emails? Do you doubt that if the same information sank Trump’s campaign that the Democrats and the press would worry about it? Like I said, Obama knew about the alleged Russian interference before the election, and the best he could do was tell Putin to “knock it off.” Kind of selective outrage, don’t you think?

          • Scalia

            “Trust us” just just doesn’t cut it nowadays.

          • Scalia

            We get closer to the destroy word when we ignore the rule of law as Obama has done for the past eight years:
            https://youtu.be/_-qtVTsL-FQ

          • pennywit

            Transcript? I’m a Luddite. Besides, I can read 12 minutes of speechifying faster than Cruz can speak it.

          • Scalia

            No transcript.

        • jim_m

          Your argument seems to be that Wikileaks is bad and therefore even if we falsely accuse them if donething, if it hurts Wikileaks it is ok to perpetuate a lie because it serves your ideological purposes.

          Not a very strong argument. Your position is little m9re than an ad hom attack on Assange and you show complete contempt for the facts.

          • Paul Hooson

            Wikileaks is being used as a tool of Russian espionage to undermine our national security as well as to damage France, Italy, Greece, Turkey as well as China and other rivals of Russia. ISIS and al Qaeda and international terrorism have benefited from damages to American intelligence as well.

          • Brett Buck

            As noted repeatedly there’s no evidence of that. But, suppose we grant that everything Wikileaks published about the Democrats is straight from the GRU. Has anyone found one scintilla of evidence or claimed it was *inaccurate*? Does anyone say that, say, that the evidence Granny Cankles followers manipulated the process to screw Bernie Sanders was falsified or incorrect? Does anyone claim that the classified information in emails from Cankles and others on Weiner’s laptop was faked? Has anyone said Podesta’s discussion of some bizarre ritual was concocted by Putin to discredit him?

            As far as I can tell, the objection to the Russians “manipulating” the election was that very damaging activities that were undertaken by the DNC and Hillary camp is that an accurate and truthful record of their activies WERE EXPOSED FOR ALL TO SEE. This is precisely and exactly what people lionized Woodward and Bernstein for – exposing the truth. The DNC and Hillary people *were doing very bad things* and they *got caught* and then *lost the election because of it*. And *correctly so*.

            In very short, because you are so slow on the uptake and I am getting pissed off – the Russians did us a great public service, whether they intended to or not. . They got rid of the most loathsome bunch scumbags to ever infest American politics.

        • BarttheCat

          Boo hoo…the US hacks just as much as any other country, and you know it. You’re in denial.

    • Scalia

      Your linked article contains no proof of Russian hacking. It merely regurgitates MSM reports that it occurred. Moreover, even if the Russians hacked DNC servers, it does not mean that they shared that information with Assange. Others have tried to phish the RNC too, but it appears to have been unsuccessful.

      So, since everybody spies to one degree or another on everybody else, one must still link the data obtained with the source of publication. If the Russians were successful in breaching DNC servers, did they share what they had with Assange? To insist they did without proof is a textbook post hoc fallacy. If disgruntled Democratic employees shared the emails with Assange, then Russia did nothing to “undermine” our elections. We need proof of the same, and so far, that proof has not been forthcoming.

      • Paul Hooson

        I only cited that features from around the world all agree that Russia was involved in this hacking and then supplying Wikileaks with the information. More specific features from CNN and other sources cite the intelligence community evidence which computers were used and by Russian agents who then forwarded the information to Wikileaks. Believe me, the FBI and other agencies are able to track data coming into Wikileaks or any other Website.

        • Scalia

          Yet the key component of your charge is still missing. Proving that Russia hacked the DNC does not mean that they supplied Assange with the data. Nothing that we now have shows that connection. Until you can provide it, you’re just flag-waving.

        • Scalia

          And I might repeat that NOBODY alleges that the Russians did anything to the voting machines. Even Obama denies that there is evidence of Russian interference with voting.

          Look, Paul, it’s very clear that your posterior is sore over Trump’s election. You know good and well that if the Ruskies sank Trump’s chances by providing TRUE data about Trump, the MSM wouldn’t be harping about it.

          Recall when Linda Tripp secretly recorded Lewinsky? She proved that Clinton lied about their relationship, but liberals were more upset over the illegal recording than the fact that the president lied. I think you’ve been eating too many sour grapes.

        • Brett Buck

          “Cited features from around the world”? Who cares? Of course barfed up the party line, we already know that they get their “information” from wire services from AP, Reuters, and the NYT. That’s why all the reports are more-or-less the same with some rewording to cover the fact.

          And no, we shouldn’t get beyond partisanship. We need to halt, oppose, extinguish, or ignore every single democrat idea, concept, plan, and do what *is required to protect our liberty”. If you start compromising with scum like Pelosi, Schumer, etc, you include their intentionally destructive ideas.

          Why should anyone who cares about America collude with the people trying to destroy it? The Asshole in Chief, just yesterday, suggested that some people in America believe more in Putin than they do some of their fellow Americans (meaning the Democrats) and that it “cannot be”. Actually, he is right, lots of people think that Obama’s crew IS a bigger threat and more destructive than Putin and the Russians.

        • Olsoljer

          Much of your drivel brings to mind something my mother used to say, and maybe you could benefit from (unlikely):

          “If your friends all jumped off a cliff, would you jump off the cliff too?”

      • The apologia is strong with that one…

    • LiberalNightmare

      Are these the same intelligence experts that couldn’t recover lost emails from the IRS hard drives, or Hillary Clinton’s email server?

      • Jwb10001

        The same bunch that was sure Iraq had WMD?

        • Brett Buck

          The ones that fell for a 4chan hoax?

  • yetanotherjohn

    I believe it was Kissinger who likened Communist Russia to a thief walking down a hotel hallway trying the door handles. They didn’t have a particular room targeted, but would try all the rooms to see what opportunities for larceny turned up.
    Under Putin, I suspect that Russia has returned to its old ways. Russia tried influencing a great number of elections (e.g. nuclear freeze movements). They were always able to find useful dupes to act as their front. They would provide money and talking points to influence public opinions and thus elections. Most of the left who were repeating the Russian talking points had no idea that they were parroting Moscow.

    Did the wikileaks come from a disgruntled DNC staffer who thought Sanders was getting a raw deal or Russian hacking? What difference does it make?

    Were the wikileaks lies? Nothing indicates that they were. If the press was doing its job, discovered the exact same information and published it, it would have the same effect. If getting caught colluding with the media on articles and debate questions would influence the voters not to vote for you, then don’t do it. Complaining about who caught you doing it doesn’t make it right.

  • Walter_Cronanty

    There are additional, interesting portions in the cited report:

    1. Russian television station RT supported the Occupy Wall Street nonsense and: “… created a Facebook app to connect Occupy Wall Street protesters via social media.”

    2. RT also “… runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability…”
    I wonder if the MSM and the left will glom onto these facets of the report and bemoan them as much as the rest of the report? Well, I guess I really don’t wonder that – everyone knows the answer.

    • Jwb10001

      Hey all that stuff is different, that was intended to disrupt the Republicans, not the same at all! Of course I don’t hear Paul’s bitching about Kennedy asking the USSR to interfere with an election, or the unending crusades to overturn this election by his democrat friends. When you have Hillary sitting silently, while her party works overtime to completely discredit this election and consequently the US election process it’s hard to take this Russian interference claim too seriously. They obviously have zero respect of our elections so their protests ring very hollow.

    • Brett Buck

      The Russians are not our friends and they would like nothing more than to screw with us. I am sure they take every opportunity. But, there’s no justification to go out of our way to antagonize them, either. What I find pathetic about the current situation is that Obama and company seem to be going out of their way to cause every problem possible and inflame them to the maximum extent possible – in what amounts to a fit of pique. Had Hillary won, we would be on the brink of war with them. Fortunately, she didn’t, and fortunately, Putin isn’t taking the bait.

      The Russians can’t do much of anything short of a war – they are economic weaklings, they don’t have a lot of influence, and the world recognizes Putin as a blustering loudmouth. They can harass and play these stupid propaganda games, but they aren;t going to really do anything. As far as existential threats to the Western World goes, they are way down the list.

      • Walter_Cronanty

        I’m not as sanguine as you about the Russians, but they’ve been hacking us for years. To now go full cold war over the DNC’s and Podesta’s poorly safeguarded emails is, as you say, nothing but a fit pique combined with sour grapes over the election. The Obama administration, together with the MSM, has done more to delegitimize the election than Putin ever did.

        • Brett Buck

          Don’t misunderstand, anyone with their collection of nuclear missiles is potentially dangerous. But the chances of a full-out war starting are a lot less than the threats from an economic conflict with China, a small war over the ROC, ISIS, etc, and worst of all, the continual chipping away at liberty by our own hard-left Democrats.

          The USSR and the Russians have never had any significant effect on our principles. The Democrats and other liberals have made great strides and have been highly successful undermining our way of life and founding principles. I consider them a far greater threat that loudmouth penny-ante crime bosses like Putin.

          • Walter_Cronanty

            “The USSR and the Russians have never had any significant effect on our principles. The Democrats and other liberals have made great strides and have been highly successful undermining our way of life and founding principles.”
            To some extent, I think the USSR and the left are one and the same. We’ll never know the full extent of the Communist influence in the US.
            Then again, if the far left wasn’t influenced by the Communists, I’m sure it would have been influenced by some other group to show how they dislike the US – look at how the far left and the Islamists have coalesced into an anti-US/anti-Israel bloc.
            Humans are simply hard-wired in a fatally flawed way. Original sin, I guess.

          • Brett Buck

            Hard to say, but yes, the USSR might have been a communist influence, but Putin is a pretty ordinary despot running a plain old kleptocracy, much like dozens of others. The one difference is that they have inherited an impressive array of nuclear and other advanced weapons. Maybe they pretend to be pseudo-commies, but they are closer to the Star Trek gangster-planet guys.

          • Walter_Cronanty

            Yes…. but today’s “Democrats and other liberals” who you state have been highly successful in “undermining our way or life and founding principles” [and I agree] got their start as anti-US protesters in the 60s and 70s with Soviet money, propaganda, and other support. They then completed their take-over, started in the 30s-50s, of academia, the arts and entertainment fields and went into the various bureaucracies in the government. Their influence over our current culture cannot be overstated. And, just as Russia today, the USSR was never an economic powerhouse.
            I believe the same organizational process is still available to Putin, and his ex-KGB cronies. The only problem Putin has is that there are many more anti-US organizations/issues for leftists to rally ’round. Thus, Russia itself can sow chaos and harm our economy through, for example, hacking our computers and financing anti-fracking propaganda, but Putin will have a hard time getting “Pro-Russia” leftist support, unlike his Soviet predecessors who could garner pro-Communist support.
            I think Putin’s main goal is to further weaken us economically, which in turn, will weaken us on the world stage. This will allow Russia to somewhat cheaply fill power vacuums, as they have done in Syria. Whether this will ultimately enable Russia to gain economically is questionable, but not an illogical result.

          • Brett Buck

            Well, maybe they got their start, but the current crop are doing it entirely for their own personal enrichment and power. I don’t think that Hillary’s antics over the years show any sort of commitment to any guiding principles, aside from grubbing as much money and influence as possible for herself. If that happened to coincide with communist principles, it was at best a coincidence. Of course, leftist philosophies of any stripe lead to totalitarianism, so they tend they all tend to converge at the same point. Obama is closer to a facist than he is a socialist in most respects.

            If Hillary thought there was any chance that she could get more for herself by forming a right-wing junta like a banana republic, I am sure thats what she would have done.

            But I don’t think that there is any sort of fundamental guiding political philosophy, communist or otherwise, behind it.

  • LiberalNightmare

    Here’s a question – If russia “hacked” the election, by releasing information to wiki-leaks, did the democratic party “hack” the election when they released Trumps “Grab em by the pussy” tape?